• UO Interviews: New Year, New You

    The start of the new year infers a necessary moment of reflection: how far have we come, what remains left to do. We are fans of list-making as a daily practice, and though we're not typically ones to draft formal "resolutions," we came across an archival, handwritten resolutions list that Woody Guthrie wrote in 1942 that inspired us to reconsider the idea. Guthrie's goals, which range from reminders to shave and change his socks to "dream good," "stay glad," and "wake up and fight" is less a list of superficial goals we'll forget next week and more a reminder about why we have personal aspirations at all. Plus, it's just so earnest. 

    With this as a starting point, we brought together four creative UO friends in Los Angeles to check in at the start of 2015 and have them riff on Guthrie's idea (the result? They responded to it, parodied it, and replied with rap lyrics...), as well as tell us more specifically what projects and ideas they're stoked on for the new year.
    Photos by Kourtney Jackson

    David Kitz
    Artist, 27
    Instagram / Website

    David Kitz is a photographer whose work deals with the idiosyncratic qualities of lens-based picture making; photography is used as a tool for investigating itself. His work is texture-driven and wide-ranging in palette and subject matter. In 2014, he published a zine, Sidelines, that we recommend checking out for a quick hit of visual inspiration. David's worked with UO before (we featured him last year when he was in our men's lookbook shot by Jason Nocito!) so we were curious to catch up and force him to be reflective...

    For 2015, 
    - Think things through better, but overthink nothing
    - Call my mom
    - Waste less time
    - Draw
    - Let myself make mistakes
    - Drink less coffee
    - Surf better
    - Water my plants
    - Give back
    - Cook
    - Look at more art
    - Meditate
    - Stay curious

    Riley Blakeway
    Director and Filmmaker, 25
    Website / Vimeo / Instagram

    You should know who Riley Blakeway is. The Australian filmmaker and photographer's work has been shown in festivals around the world including SXSW, The New York Surf Film Festival, The 2012 Vimeo awards, and the Semi Permanent 2014 Short Film Showcase in Sydney. This year, he says, he is focusing his work on music videos and short documentaries, like the documentary project he's wrapping up with grunge photographer Charles Peterson and the music video he's working on for LA band Froth. For 2015, "The plan is to just make as much art for myself as possible and spend more time on the road." 

    When we gave Riley the prompt, he responded in rap lyrics. 
    For 2015,
    - "TURN UP"
    - "Find a reason to turn down"
    - "Flex in a no flex zone"
    - "Fall out of love with the coco"
    - "Love being sober"
    - "Wake up in a new Bugatti"
    - "Wake up like this"
    - "Get that Bank of America account with six figures"
    - "Find some hoes that are loyal"
    - "Look back at it"

    Ben Medansky
    Ceramicist, 26
    Website / Instagram

    Ben Medansky is a ceramicist from Scottsdale, AZ. In 2010, he graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a love for ceramics and a desire to start his own studio, and his functional wares and art objects are minimalist meditations informed by architectural structures and industrial processes. In 2014, he was selected by the New York Times as an emerging artist to watch, and this month, he's moving to a new, larger studio in anticipation of two upcoming shows: a solo show at Mars Gallery and a group show at Harris Gallery at University of LaVerne.

    For 2015, 
    - Be persuasive
    - Be persuaded
    - Make true intimate connections
    - Get lost 
    - Sweat often 
    - Obtain superhuman health  
    - Create a masterpiece
    - Experiment with new materials 
    - Party at home more 
    - Cook for friends
    - Find comfort in silence 
    - Trade skills 
    - Go camping at every opportunity
    - Take my dog Banjee-girl on more excursions 
    - Wake up when my alarm goes off 

    Moses Sumney
    Musician, 24
    Website / Instagram / Twitter 
    Moses Sumney has been called a "one man soul-funk orchestra," but growing up, he was so shy that he would write songs but hide them inside his mattress. After studying  creative writing at UCLA, he gathered the courage to start performing music, bought a guitar from a friend, and taught himself to play and accompany himself. Today, he creates soul-infused folk music using guitar and unique arrangements built on loop pedals and is currently working on his debut album. 

    Moses' response to the the prompt: "I was feeling cheeky." Here are his "resolutions"...and maybe a couple real ones. For 2015,
    - Eat more quinoa and kale
    - Only shop at new, expensive organic food stores
    - #Fitness
    - If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve to dance in the rain like nobody’s watching (still figuring out how to work this into a resolution, tbh, tbc)
    - Delete (and reinstall) Tinder as many times as possible
    - Live, laugh, love. *peace sign emoji*
    - Spread the sweet-sullen gospel of “health goth”
    - #SpiritualYoga #SpinClass #Crossfit
    - Shake the haters off (with a blowtorch)
    - Use sarcasm as a thinly veiled excuse to be an asshole 
    - Delete all newlywed and engaged Facebook friends
    - Expose the crippling effects of social inequality and implicit bias on our culture
    - #vintage #antique #rustic #artisanal #seasonal #woodsy #vibey #exposedbrick #masonjars
    - Work smarter, not harder 
    - Finish my album.

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